Zahra Niroobakhsh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: 350D Flarsheim Hall
Phone: 816-235-6394



  • Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, USA, 2017
  • M.S., Mechanical and Process Engineering, Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, 2011
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran, 2006

Research Focus/Expertise

  • Soft matters such as surfactants, lipids, colloids, and polymers
  • Fluid dynamics of non-Newtonian flows
  • Bulk and interfacial rheologies
  • Thermodynamics phase behavior and Kinetics
  • Self-assembly aggregates structure-property relation
  • Surface tension measurement
  • Microfluidics, microscale, and 3D printing experiments

Honors and Awards

  • Young Investigators Award (DNI) from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) worth $110,000, 2020.
  • Iranian American Academics and Professionals (IAAP) Scholarship Award, 2017.
  • Best Paper and Presentation Award, College of Engineering Research Symposium (CERS), Penn State, 2016.
  • Howard O. and Jean Beaver Graduate Studies Grant, Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University, 2015.


No opening at this time.


Graduate and Senior Electives

MEC-ENGR 401/501 Introduction to Polymers and Soft Materials-3 Credits

MEC-ENGR 401/501 Introduction to Biomaterials-3 Credits

Undergraduate Courses

MEC-ENGR 299 Engineering Thermodynamics-3 Credits


Printing and Rheology of Interfacial Soft Materials


Research Focus

The Niroobakhsh research group focuses on self-assembly, rheological property, and fluid dynamics of soft materials including surfactant mixtures, polymer solutions, and emulsions.

  Soft Materials

First step is to design soft nanomaterials based on phase behavior of different components in order to obtain certain rheological properties with potential applications related to food, biomedical, and drug delivery systems.

 Liquid/Liquid Instabilities  

Next step is to experimentally investigate fluid dynamics of the designed soft nanomaterials to mimic specific processing application.

    Liquid-Liquid 3d Printing


Primary Investigator

Zahra Niroobakhsh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Office: 350D Flarsheim Hall


Phone: 816-235-6394


Ph.D. Students

Houman Honaryar

Houman has received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. He joined the research group in January 2019 as a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at UMKC. He is currently developing a liquid/liquid 3D printing method using surfactant self-assemblies and microstructures at fluids interfaces.


Mahsa Yazdani

Mahsa has received her bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran. She holds a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering from University of Tehran, focused on enhancing the stability of drug delivery systems. She joined the research group in August 2019 and started her interdisciplinary Ph.D. program focused on Mechanical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is currently working on creating giant vesicles using single chain amphiphiles via droplet-based microfluidic systems for pharmaceutical applications and optimizing emulsion for oil spill remediation.



Undergraduate Students

Timothy Reed

Timothy is an undergraduate senior in Mechanical Engineering and joined the lab Spring of 2019 . Before pursuing his engineering degree, he worked in the United States Navy for eight years as an aviation electronics technician. Timothy has acheived Dean’s list honors Fall 2017, Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. He won a UMKC SEARCH research grant Fall 2019 and participated in the UMKC 20th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Spring 2020. He is currently working on the effect of chemical dispersants for oil spill remediation.



Ryan Butler, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 5/2020 – 8/2020

Lauren Hernandez, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 3/2018 – 6/2020

Nyla Gwan, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 5/2019 – 5/2020

Austin Stark, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 5/2019 – 12/2019


Laboratory Instrumentations


  • TA Instruments Discovery Hybrid Rheometer (DHR3)
  • Home-Built Liquid-Liquid 3D Printer
  • AmScope 40X-2000X Trinocular Biological Compound Microscope
  • KD Scientific Dual Syringe Infusion/Withdrawal Pump
  • Fisherbrand Single Syringe Infusion Pump
  • Fisherbrand Heated Ultrasonic Baths
  • Fisherbrand Vortex Mixer
  • Mettler Toledo pH/Ion Benchtop Meter
  • Mettler Toledo ME Analytical Balances
  • Thermo Scientific Stirring Hotplates
  • Cannon-Fenske Routine Viscometers
  • Binder Drying/Heating Ovens with Natural Convection
  • VWR Refrigerated Circulating Baths

August 2020: Houman Honaryar‘s presentation was broadcasted live in the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting and Expo. Congratulations Houman! Dr. Niroobakhsh served as the moderator of the symposium “Hydrodynamics and Thermodynamics at Interface, that was co-organized by her.

August 2020: Dr. Niroobakhsh has organized a symposium titled “Hydrodynamics and Thermodynamics at Interface” with his colleague Dr. Sun Choi (from Korea Institute of Science and Technology) in the Colloid devision of the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting and Expo.

August 2020: Niroobakhsh Research Group made a trip (while practicing social distancing) to the Kansas City Zoo to get ready for Fall Semester.

June 2020: Congratulations to Mahsa Yazdani for her “Droplets as Continents” science image that has been selected for the 2020 Science to Art BioNexus KC’s Annual Exhibition to be held at Truman Medical Center. Science to Art at BioNexus KC is a platform for regional scientists to display and describe their research through the visual arts. All proceeds from the Science to Art auction will be donated to STEAM education in KC.

See the news in Twitter!


June 2020: Congratulations to Dr. Niroobakhsh who is awarded Doctoral New Investigators (DNI) funding from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) on the proposal “Tuning the Viscoelastic Properties of Enhanced-Oil-Recovery-Relevant Bijels”worth $110,000.

May 2020: Congratulations to the new member of the group, Fiona (Yue) Fei who was awarded a UMKC Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) (Program suspended and grants not funded due to COVID-19).

April 2020: Two members of the group, Timothy Reed, and Lauren Hernandez presented posters in UMKC 20th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research in a virtual event.

September 2019: Congratulations to three undergraduate members of the lab, Nyla Gwan, Timothy Reed, and Lauren Hernandez who have received the UMKC Undergraduate SEARCH Research Awards.

August 2019: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented and served as the Chair of the Molecular Self-Assembly Session in Basic Research in Colloids, Surfactants & Nanomaterials Session in the 258th American Chemical Society National Meeting (ACS) in San Diego, CA.

July 2019: Two members of the lab attended TA Instruments/Waters Polymer Characterization Seminar in Wichita, KS.

February 2019: Congratulations to Dr. Niroobakhsh who published an article in Physical Review Letters on Rapid stabilization of immiscible fluids using nanostructured interfaces via surfactant association.

August 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh gave an invited talk in the Departments of Physics and Engineering in Brown University, Providence, RI.

August 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented and served as the Chair of the Surfactant System Session in Basic Research in Colloids, Surfactants & Nanomaterials Session in the 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting (ACS) in Boston, MA.

June 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh visited the “Soft Matter at Interfaces” group of Prof. Regine von Klitzing at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany from June 12th to July 10th.

May 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh attended an intense one-week workshop on “Polymer Chemistry: Principles & Practice” organized by American Chemical Society (ACS) and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA.

March 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented in the American Physical Society (APS) March meeting in Los Angeles, CA.


Niroobakhsh Research Group – Summer 2020